18 December 2012

Somalia Aims to Resume Banana Exports

Somalia has taken another step towards resuming export of high-quality bananas following the announcement of the setting up of an export company last weekend (December 16th) in Mogadishu.

Following the expulsion of Al-Shabaab from the city, Somalia's diaspora community has been a primary driver of growth for Mogadishu's new property and investment boom. Sheikh Osman, the Head of Fruit Som, has announced it plans to form an umbrella for Somali banana to meet foreign market demands.

The company says it hopes to work with hundreds of small farmers to grow and pick the fruit, and ensure they meet foreign markets' requirements. Before the collapse of the central government in 1991, Somalia had a high reputation for its high-quality bananas, and it was the largest exporter of bananas in East Africa to the Middle East and EU markets. According to recent surveys, the Somali banana is still preferred in places such as the United Arab Emirates and Iran. At peak of production, bananas were grown on about 12,000 hectares of land and employed over a hundred thousand people. Currently production is grown on no more than 3,000 hectares for local consumption.

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